Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New US Co-op Film / Venezuelan Coup Attempt /German-Canada RE coops

Nice to hear that there's a new film out on co-ops, the member-ownership model of enterprise. Michael Moore's Capitalism is a landmark for its visibility and inclusion of co-ops, there was The Take by the well-known Naomi Klein, and even one on Mondragon from 1982, and others. Denmark, Germany, Emiglia Romana Italy, and Mondragon Spain are inspiring jurisdictions with lots of social democratic participation and economic democracy, as well as US credit unions and food co-ops, and co-ops and Fair Trade arrangements everywhere. “What is Inexcusable is Venezuela's Political Independence” What Does It Take to Start a Worker Co-Op? A Practical Video Guide to Democratizing Our Economy A new film asks whether practicing workplace democracy would be easier if our media gave us as many visions of collaboration as they do of competition? Laura Flanders posted Feb 10, 2015 As Sarah van Gelder pointed out recently, 2014 research by the Pew Center found that 78 percent of Americans believe that too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few huge companies. More than half—62 percent—believe our current economic system is rigged in favor of those with the most power. That belief, backed by the reality of gaping inequality and downward pressure on most Americans’ wealth and wages has led many people to look for ways, not only to ameliorate the pain and pressures of business-as-usual, but to find new ways of doing business. Worker-owned cooperatives, where workers are offered a share in the company and a say in decision-making, are one way to make the workplace more democratic. The most successful cooperatives have a good record of reducing inequality and building local assets, but co-ops aren’t easy, and they aren’t for everybody. A year ago, GRITtv and TESA the Toolbox for Education and Social Action teamed up to look more closely at what it takes for a worker-owned cooperative to get started, and to succeed. The result is Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time. Would practicing workplace democracy and working together be easier if our media and our education system gave us as many visions of collaboration as they do of competition? What if we were encouraged to participate in our communities as much as we are pushed to purchase stuff? If we measured prosperity not by how high we could pile up resources, but how widely we could spread them out, would our heroes, not to mention our economy look different? We believe so. Own the Change: Building Economic Democracy One Worker Co-op at a Time is one contribution to a broader vision. Read the rest at Some kind of coup attempt recently. It seems to me the government needs to start broadening the participation of ownership in the wealth of the economic elite there in Venezuela. By John Pilger- TeleSUR English, February 17th 2015 Tags 2015 Opposition sovereignty U.S. sanctions An interview with John Pilger, conducted by Michael Albert. Why would the U.S. want Venezuela's government overthrown? There are straightforward principles and dynamics at work here. Washington wants to get rid of the Venezuelan government because it is independent of U.S. designs for the region and because Venezuela has the greatest proven oil reserves in the world and uses its oil revenue to improve the quality of ordinary lives. Venezuela remains a source of inspiration for social reform in a continent ravaged by an historically rapacious U.S. An Oxfam report once famously described the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua as 'the threat of a good example'. That has been true in Venezuela since Hugo Chavez won his first election. The 'threat' of Venezuela is greater, of course, because it is not tiny and weak; it is rich and influential and regarded as such by China. The remarkable change in fortunes for millions of people in Latin America is at the heart of U.S. hostility. The U.S. has been the undeclared enemy of social progress in Latin America for two centuries. It doesn't matter who has been in the White House: Barack Obama or Teddy Roosevelt; the U.S. will not tolerate countries with governments and cultures that put the needs of their own people first and refuse to promote or succumb to U.S. demands and pressures. A reformist social democracy with a capitalist base - such as Venezuela - is not excused by the rulers of the world. What is inexcusable is Venezuela's political independence; only complete deference is acceptable. The 'survival' of Chavista Venezuela is a testament to the support of ordinary Venezuelans for their elected government - that was clear to me when I was last there. Venezuela's weakness is that the political 'opposition' -- those I would call the 'East Caracas Mob' - represent powerful interests who have been allowed to retain critical economic power. Only when that power is diminished will Venezuela shake off the constant menace of foreign-backed, often criminal subversion. No society should have to deal with that, year in, year out.... read the rest at I looked for something on German Renewable Energy Co-ops, and found this German representative's visit to Ottawa in 2014... Tour: Learning from German Co-op Sector OREC has been very fortunate to have Dr Andreas Wieg, German Renewable Energy Co-op expert, join us for a whirlwind tour of Ontario. During his week here he has inspired audiences from Parliament Hill to Carleton University, from Ecology Ottawa to Queens Park. In case you missed seeing him present, you can find his presentation slides about the German renewable energy co-op transition here: Wieg in Canada 2014_2-2 more at

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